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One Man's Everest Cover Image

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The Autobiography of Kenton Cool by

Goodreads rating: 3.33

Hardcover, Published in Aug 2015 by Random House UK

ISBN10: 1848094485 | ISBN13: 9781848094482

Page count: 356

The story that emerged from the Everest base camp on May 21, 2013, was remarkable even in its bare essentials. A British climber had marked the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of the world’s highest peak by climbing not just Everest, but the two huge mountains next to it, all in one go. It was an astonishing feat of endurance. Kenton Cool and his Sherpa partner, Dorje Gylgen, had gained and lost ten vertical kilometers in the 120 hours it took them to climb Nuptse, Everest, and Lhotse. They had barely slept or eaten. They’d burnt so many calories that Cool staggered back from Lhotse two stone lighter than when he had set out on the 15th. It was the first time anyone had done the whole enormous Everest horseshoe in a single push. Kenton Cool’s first venture into serious rock climbing was, fittingly, a "very severe" one on the South Coast near Swanage that had Cool battling for his life, exhausted and exhilarated. That summer he went straight out to the Alps, and stormed up mountains that many climbers will spend lifetimes dreaming of but never quite attempting. From then on, the mountains have been his life. From bivouacking under a rock for nights on end high above the Chamonix valley to getting the great adventurer Ranulph Fiennes, who is by his own admission scared of heights, to the top of Everest in 2009 and climbing the three peaks in 2013, Cool is recognized as the finest British climber of his generation. Cool has been lucky—or unlucky, depending on your view. Back from the Alps, one June afternoon in 1996, he was on a route called Major Headstress in a Welsh slate quarry when a handhold broke and he fell 15 feet onto his heels. He broke them both. His heel pain is permanent. His standard gait is a hobble. When forced to stand still he sways to relieve the aching, and at the end of a hard day in the mountains he can sometimes be found getting around on his hands and knees. Kenton Cool has a delightful wife and two beautiful children, yet every time he leaves for an expedition he may not return. "Why do you do it?" people ask him. This book tells why.

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